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MBA and EMBA programmes are popular among executives who are dedicated to continuous education, but more and more are finding it tough to allocate time to attend classes regularly.
Seeing a demand from executives for education that requires less time to commit, the Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA) has joined forces with Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University in the United States to introduce a two-day "Senior Executive Strategic Leadership" programme for local executives.
Devin Bigoness, executive director for executive education at Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management of Cornell, says the demand for leadership education has been growing because more companies now realise its importance.
"To compete in today's turbulent business environment, companies need many smart minds thinking in a strategic sense for the company. One of the programme's goals is to equip senior managers and leaders with the mindset to think strategically and then pass on the knowledge from the top down to other staff members," he says.
Professor Michael Hostetler, lecturer in management and organisations at Cornell, who will be teaching the programme, says its delivery will be through case studies and group discussions.
"There is a lot to cover in the two days. I will make use of case studies to guide executives to debate on the pros and cons of a strategy and then try to relate the example to their own company," he says.
"I will cover the misconception in strategic planning. Many think strategic planning is a linear process where management takes two months out of the year to plan. This is old school thinking. Today's leading companies are constantly accessing the effectiveness of their company, trying to find where the gaps are and develop solutions to close them," he adds.
Another major topic Hostetler plans to cover is the psychological traps in strategic planning. "Every company needs to find its competitive edge. Some invest a huge amount of resources to develop a competitive edge, but by the time they have finished, the market might have changed and that advantage has already lost its value.
"Another common psychological trap in strategic planning is priority in allocating resources when implementing a strategy. I will talk about ways to avoid the traps," he says.
Hostetler says the programme's greatest advantage is that it helps executives think ahead.
"The market changes quickly," he says. "It is important for executives to learn to be flexible with their strategic planning. I will challenge executives to think about 'what would happen', so that they can excel in the dynamic business world. This is highly relevant to the Hong Kong market, which is constantly undergoing change."
Bigoness says participants can expect a diverse classroom, with leaders from a wide range of industries. "Cornell believes in leaders learning from leaders. We have participants from finance, technology, health care and many other sectors. I believe it will be a fruitful experience for participants," he says.